Sled hockey players of all ages and abilities take to the ice at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Farmers Branch for practice nearly every week.
“So look for that outlet pass,” Alfredo Corona said as the Dallas Stars sled hockey team was getting ready to start a scrimmage against their fellow teammates. Corona is the president of the team.
“I’ve been playing for about 17 years now,” Corona said.
With a GoPro attached to the front of his sled you can see how he easily maneuvered across the ice narrowly missing other players—and sometimes not.
“You just hit the GoPro,” Corona said while laughing with another player after a collision.
“What do you love about this sport?” asked NBC 5’s Kristin Dickerson.
“Ah, just the people,” Corona answered.
People like teammate Logan Shaw, whose task is to protect the net.
“He has been a truly unbelievable player for us,” Corona said.
“You kind of look like the Hulk,” Dickerson said to Shaw referencing the amount of padding underneath his green Dallas Stars jersey.
“Ya! I know. I look like twice the size I usually am,” Shaw said with a laugh. “I like it. I need to keep these pads on all the time.”
His pads are needed because sled hockey can get violent, which for Shaw, is a good thing.
“I really like the physicality, hitting people and getting hit by the puck, stuff like that,” Shaw said. “I don’t know, there’s just something about it. I love it.”
“So, have you ever gotten hit in the face with a puck?” Dickerson asked Shaw.
“Multiple times at practice,” Shaw said with a smile.
Shaw said what he loves about sled hockey is the community. The majority of players have a physical limitation like he does.
“If you run into somebody that’s able-bodied they’re like, ‘oh, he’s in a wheelchair.’ But the disabled community it’s like, they just don’t—it doesn’t even register,” Shaw said.
When Shaw was 13 years old, the go-kart he was driving was hit by a car. He faced a variety of injuries including a limitation to his ability to walk.
“About a year after my accident, I mean I was really depressed, I mean I had suicidal thoughts. It was not, not good,” Shaw said.
But it was sports that brought him out of that depression and helped him find success in all aspects of life.
“Would you have ever thought that you would find so much fun and fulfillment in sport?” Dickerson asked.
“Absolutely not,” Shaw responded.
Shaw and his teammates are nationally competitive and making North Texas proud in a sport that some people haven’t yet heard of, but need to.
“It’s just kind of this hidden community that nobody knows about that everybody should know about,” Shaw said.
The North Texas sled hockey players do not pay a dime to be on the team. The Dallas Stars and fundraisers pay for everything including uniforms, equipment, and travel expenses to games. The Dallas Stars even altered a rink at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in Farmers Branch to make it more accessible for people on sleds and in wheelchairs.